I feel almost compelled to say something about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, but it is too soon to even have all the facts other than we know at least 50 people were killed and another 53 are currently being reported as injured. I already have formed opinions regarding the person who committed the acts and where failure and blame should start, but that would be premature to discuss less than 36 hours after the tragedy. I do think it might be useful to point out the comments from two LGBT organizations, I hope they don’t mind me using their comments.

Here is the statement from Pink Pistols:

Pink Pistols Saddened by Attack on Orlando Club

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA) June 12, 2016: Early Sunday, around 2AM Eastern Time, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was attacked by an armed individual. Approximately 20 persons were killed and over double that wounded when the attacker, whom police have identified as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, FL, pushed his way into the club and opened fire on patrons. Weapons carried by Mateen are reported as an “assault-type” rifle, a handgun, and a suspected explosive device. UPDATE: Reports are that the death toll is around 50, with over 50 more wounded.

“It appears he was organized and well-prepared,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina at a news conference on Sunday. Additionally, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said “This is an incident … that we certainly classify as a domestic terror incident.” Authorities say the FBI is involved. Preliminary information reveals that Omar Mateen’s family is from Afghanistan, though Omar may have been born in the United States. His family is reported to be distraught at the actions and loss of their son.

Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, an international GLBT self-defense organization, warns people not to jump immediately to the assailant’s guns as the object of blame, but to concentrate instead on Mateen’s violent acts. “The Pink Pistols gives condolences to all family and friends of those killed and injured at Pulse,” began Patton. “This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this. The human being’s tools are unimportant when compared to the bleakness of that person’s soul. I say again, GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”

Patton’s concerns are that knee-jerk gun-control efforts may make preventing future events harder rather than easier, as only the law-abiding potential victims will be affected by such laws. “It is difficult, if not impossible, to foresee such an event,” continues Patton, “But if they cannot be prevented, then they must be stopped as fast as someone tries to start them.”

Some bars and other establishments that serve alcohol are difficult to protect because many states forbid the carrying of weapons where alcohol is served, but that just as one might have a designated driver who stays sober, one might have a designated carrier with a concealed-carry permit who goes armed and does not drink. “It’s sad that we must consider such things, but when there are persons out there who mean us harm, we must find ways to protect ourselves within the law.” Patton concludes.

The Pink Pistols is an international organization dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community. Chapters may be found across the United States and Canada. Though the Pink Pistols is for the GLBTQ community, it is not solely composed of the GLBTQ community, and all are welcome to join.

Gwendolyn S. Patton
First Speaker, Pink Pistols International
Ph: (610) 879-2364

And here is the Facebook post from LGBT For Gun Rights:

The bodies haven’t been fully tallied, so there’s no need to even mention the amount injured or killed by this, but to say the least, it is an absolutely shockingly high amount. Our deepest sympathies go out to all those harmed by this attack, and if you’ve lost anyone in this horrific attack, we truly mourn your loss. All life is sacred.

Like many attacks, this one was preventable, but government interference made it difficult. The Pulse Club was an establishment that serves alcohol beverages to its customers, and as such, was governed by Florida’s version of the notoriously failed 51% law — the law that prevents even sober individuals from defending themselves in such gun-free zones as bars, clubs, and taverns. Any homosexual in that facility was sentenced to die by the state. When self-defense becomes a crime, tragedy is the only conclusion. In this scenario, the patrons of the club decided to be law-abiding, and unfortunately, that is seldom the safest route. The same cops who were bringing people out are the same individuals who were tasked with making sure they could not legally defend themselves.

This hurts this community greatly, but it isn’t just our own that suffers. Attacks like this happen all around the world by ill-intended men and women alike. Attacks like this one won’t stop happening until people can lawfully defend themselves. In addition to the attacker, the blood is on the hands of every state agent, at every level of government, who had something to do with this particular ban on self-defense. Terrible — the lot of it.